A three minute hearing this week had Teresa and Joe Giudice, the stars of ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ pleading not guilty to two federal fraud counts that were brought against them this week.
The Giudices now are facing more than 40 counts in an indictment that was made public this week. It states that the stars were lying to banks for years so they could get loans to fund their extravagant lifestyle.
A federal prosecutor in the court also read two new charges against the couple – bank and loan application fraud. He stated that each count carries a 30 year maximum prison sentence and a $1 million fine for each.
The prosecutor stated as well that Joe Giudice is an Italian citizen, and can be deported if he is convicted for fraud.
The Giudices showed little emotion in court, although Joe did smirk several times.
The Guidices first came before the federal judge in August, when they pleaded not guilty to the first of the 40 counts of fraud, which was detailed in an indictment released by the grand jury in July. The two additional counts are similar to the other counts, and the Giudice’s lawyer says that the federal prosecutors are just piling on.
The federal indictment states that the couple obtained fraudulent loans from 2001 to 2008, totalling millions of dollars. They also hid assets and income during their bankruptcy proceeding that started four years ago.
Joe also was accused of not filing tax returns for four years, when he earned more than one million dollars.
If they are convicted, both of the stars face decades in prison. However many judges usually end up sentencing such convicts to less than the maximum penalty.
After this latest hearing, lawyers for both sides met with the judge for 10 minutes. They stated later that the trial date for the case was going to be pushed from Feb. 24, 2014 to later in the year.
It was speculated that the defense talked to the prosecution about a plea bargain, but this is not known for certain at this time.
One of the defense lawyers stated that he thinks it will be very hard to find an unbiased jury, as the case features two of the most well known and controversial stars on reality TV.
The couple were involved in many alleged fraudulent activities involving bank loans. It is alleged that they prepared an application that claimed that Teresa was a realtor earning $15,000 per month, but she did not work at that time in 2005.
Also the indictment states that from 2001-9, they told several banks that they earned income that they did not. For example, in 2001, Teresa Giudice claimed on a mortgage application that she worked for fve years for an investment company. But the indictment stated that she was unemployed from 2001 to 2008.
They also applied for bankruptcy in 2009, just as they became famous on TV. But the indictment states that they hid assets, including three cars, a boat, several investment properties, and a $280,000 cash advance for Teresa’s cookbook that she was writing.
There also could be more federal charges filed later, but some of those charges are pending.